There’s really no way to sugar-coat this week. There are no excuses, no reasons and no saying, “It’s still early.” But there will also be no calls for coaches, managers, general managers to get fired and need to start wondering about a shake-up. Everyone knows the Yankees just played a pathetic series against the Nationals, and no one is happy.
To truly understand what the Yankees did in getting blanked 3-0 last night and losing two in a row at home to the Nationals, we turn to ESPN’s research bureau. Here is what they say:
- The Nationals entered their series with the Yankees with a 16-45 record (.262 win percentage). They are the worst team to beat the Yankees in a series in which the Yankees were at home (minimum 50 games into the season). The previous worst, 1939 St. Louis Browns (38-99).
- The Nationals are the third-worst team to beat the Yankees in any series.
- The 1996 Yankees lost a series on the road to the 13-46 Tigers (.220 win percentage).
- The 2005 Yankees lost a series on the road to the 13-37 Royals (.260 win pct).
How do you spell pathetic? Y-A-N-K-E-E-S.
To quickly recap, the Yankees and Nationals hung around Yankee Stadium for nearly five-and-a-half hours before getting this one started. Apparently, the Yanks really wanted to play the Nationals. I guess they thought it would be an easy win. It was anything but.
Joba Chamberlain started, and while he wasn’t terrible, he wasn’t terribly good either. He threw six innings and gave up three runs. While that’s a quality start, he allowed 11 base runners to the Nationals and walked Wil Nieves with the bases loaded. He struck out six but threw just 60 of 100 pitches for strikes. It was a mediocre effort.
But the Yankees should have been able to score three runs against Craig Stammen, a pitcher with no career wins and 27.2 Big League innings under his belt. They could not. For the second night in a row, a no-name Nationals pitcher threw few pitches and mowed down the lethargic Yanks. They went 0 for 4 with runners in scoring position, and as the played-out cliché goes, they didn’t have much fight in them. I guess they really wanted to get on that flight to Miami.
As far as the standings go, this one doesn’t set the Yanks back another game. While Toronto won, the Red Sox and Rays did not. The big guns in the AL East are steady. But on the other hand, the Yankees just lost their second in a row to a team that hadn’t won two out of a three-game set since nabbing two from the D-Backs on May 8 and 9. They should have gained on their competitors but did not.
This loss too capped off an uninspiring and generally frustrating nine-game stretch. They blasted Johan Santana on Sunday but managed just two other victories during that span. They had first place in their grip, and they had an opportunity in Boston to put some distance between them and the Red Sox. Instead, they’ve dropped the ball.
On Friday night, the Yanks cruise into Miami to face a Marlins team nearly as bad as the Nationals. An ineffective Andy Pettitte — 4-2 over his last 9 outings but with a 5.33 ERA and a 1.82 WHIP — will take the mound. The Yanks and their fans are going to need that W and soon. This was an ugly, ugly week.
Game Notes: Last night’s was the first homerless game in new Yankee Stadium history…Brett Gardner is day-to-day after crashing into a very unforgiving plexiglass window in left center field. I was out bowling tonight, and everyone watching the game just stopped silently as the Yanks tended to their injured center fielder. It sounds as though the crash looked worse than it felt in the end.